Degree requirements to be changed

Reporter and Reporter

Incoming students seeking a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of Arts and Sciences will be required to take fewer group requirement classes than current students in the same programs.

The Arts and Sciences Council is in the process of changing the group requirements for students seeking a B.A. from the college. The changes must be approved by the University Undergraduate Council during its meeting on April 17, said Susan Brown, professor of sociology and chair of the Arts and Sciences Council.

The Undergraduate Council advises all general education requirements at the University, and must review and approve major curriculum changes, according to the University website.

The current B.A. group requirements, which are specific to the college, require students to take a number of classes beyond the BG Perspective course requirements, Brown said.

“The College of Arts and Sciences is unique in having several of these requirements and they are quite specific,” she said. “What we have done is try to streamline these to provide students with more flexibility to work toward their degree.”

The current requirements were put in place about 40 years ago, said Simon Morgan-Russell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

For several years, various groups within the college have discussed the possible changes, but in September, a draft was written to outline the possible changes, according to the proposal.

The proposed requirements for the B.A. will predominately affect new students when it is in place and will reduce the number of natural science, social science and arts and humanities courses students must take, according to the proposal.

“A lot of students struggle with the difficulty of the requirements,” Morgan-Russell said. “We wanted to make it more simple and flexible for students.”

Students may struggle with the current group requirements because they are required to take an additional 42 credit hours in specific areas. The new proposal will require students to take an additional 30 credit hours, Brown said.

The proposal will add a B.A. cluster section, where students will only have to take four additional natural science, social science and arts and humanities courses that are approved for the group requirements, Brown said.

The cluster classes students choose to take must have different prefixes, cannot double-count for a student’s major and two of those courses must be at the 3000-level or above, Brown said.

The proposal, however, will still require students to take up to four foreign language classes.

The Arts and Sciences Council has received positive feedback from some students who were selected to view the new proposal.

“They appreciated the flexibility that it provides students in terms of course selection, they like the fact that they have to take fewer credit hours to satisfy the B.A. degree requirements and they liked that the B.A. cluster is something that the individual student can devise so that they can pick and choose courses that are most of interest to them,” Brown said.

Although the new requirements will not affect junior Allyson Parker, an English major, she thinks the change will allow students to take courses in which they are more interested.

“It’s nice that students will still be exposed to all the different areas,” Parker said. “I think it will be more helpful that they can chose to choose to put more emphasis on the subjects that interest them the most.”